Author looks at reality behind pipeline’s gleaming facade

James Marriott of Platform London, co-author of the book The Oil Road: A Journey from the Caspian Sea to the City of London, will be at York Wednesday to discuss some of the issues raised in the book.

Marriott’s talk will take place Sept. 18 at 3:30pm at 140 Health, Nursing & TheOilRoadEnvironmental Studies Building, Keele campus.

Platform is a London-based arts, human rights and environmental justice organization that uses art, literature, activism and education to achieve long-term systemic change.

In a journey from the oil fields of the Caspian to the refineries and financial centres of Northern Europe, Platform tracks the concealed routes along which the lifeblood of the economy is pumped – the pipeline, running from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean.

In The Oil Road, Marriott, an artist, naturalist and activist, looks at the reality behind the pipeline’s gleaming façade. The human scale of village life in the Caucasus Mountains and the plains of Anatolia is suddenly, and sometimes fatally, confronted by the vast strangeness of the oil corporation BP. Pipelines and tanker routes tie the fraying social democracies of Italy, Austria and Germany to the repressive regimes of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. A web of financial and political institutions in London stitches together the lives of metropolis and village.

Building on a decade of study with Platform, the authors guide their readers through a previously obscure landscape of energy, resistance and profit that has marked Europe for over a century. They blend the empathy travel writing with the precision of investigative journalism in a book that mixes the best of several genres.

Marriott is also the co-author of The Next Gulf: London, Washington and the Oil Conflict in Nigeria (Robinson Publishing, 2005). As part of Platform he has co-created a wide range of initiatives from the Delta micro-hydro engineering project to the opera, And While London Burns.

The talk is sponsored by the Centre for Research on Latin America & the Caribbean, the Faculty of Environmental Studies, the Law & Society Program and the York Centre for International & Security Studies.